{STÖMB} - The Grey

(CD 2014, 68:56, Independent Release)

The tracks:
  1- The Complex(8:50)
  2- Rise From Nothing(5:39)
  3- Veins Of Asphalt(8:32)
  4- Corrosion Juncture(6:44)
  5- The Crossing(2:20)
  6- Under The Grey(6:27)
  7- Terminal City(8:06)
  8- The New Coming(6:00)
  9- Genome Decline(8:29)
10- Only An Echo(7:45)

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The name {STÖMB} certainly is a catchy one and due to the brackets, hard to categorise alphabetically. But not only the name, but also their music is difficult to box. The French quartet; Tom B (lead guitar), Aurélien DF (rhythm guitar), Alexandre G (bass) and Olivier R (drums) play an instrumental form of progressive metal, with one big foot on progressive djent and another in ambient, atmospheric music. The Grey is their debut album, if you don't count the EP the band released in 2013.

Nowadays instrumental djent has become a common good and as long as there is something new, millions of bands rise and want to be part of the next big thing. To be honest, my first thought was ”here's another band that's riding the djent train”. Happily this first thought was not the correct one, {STÖMB} has more to offer than bands that pointless repeat rhythmic patterns on the lower string of their eight stringed guitars. Sure these patterns are fully presented on The Grey but the aspect of musical virtuoso could not be doubted when you hear the album. It is the addition of different elements that prevents the album from going into boredom and makes sure { STÖMB} rises above the majority of bands which names I already have forgotten after two songs. What makes The Grey stand out is the addition of spherical parts, that create a balance between the raw power, presented in Corrosion Juncture and melodic gentle fractions like you can hear in The Crossing. By fusing post rock, jazz and even space rock segments into their djent driven music, an interesting sound is presented. Short sound clips that sometimes are noticeable in the background also add something extra. Songs that combine everything I have written are Terminal City and Genome Decline; fresh and absolutely renewing. Although the compositions themselves are quite long; all except for two clocking over six minutes, there is enough deviation to keep the listener interested until the end and the compositions never become predictable.

Paris based {STÖMB} have served us with a surprisingly pleasant album-unpredictable and interesting by blending new and refreshing elements to their djent based music. The Grey certainly is a highlight in this genre and could signify a big future.

**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)

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